13. Her first major big-screen role came in the 1995 drama My Family, directed by Gregory Nava. Despite being uncredited for her portrayal of Young Maria, she received an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Supporting Female anyway. She lost to Mare Winningham.
14. In 1997, she landed the role of a lifetime, playing late Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla in Selena. Despite having worked with Nava, who directed the film, she was still subjected to an intense auditioning process. Her salary for the film was reportedly $1 million, making her the highest-paid Hispanic actress in history at the time.
15. The filming of the movie’s concert scenes gave her the itch to pursue a recording career. “When I did Selena, it all came back again, having that interaction with the fans and the public, which you don’t get in movies,” she told the Los Angeles Times in 1999. “I missed that very much. I missed the excitement of the stage, which I had early in my career with the musical theater.”
16. On February 22, 1997, she married husband No. 1, Cuban waiter Ojani Noa. They were married less than a year.
17. Despite their brief union, he’s remained a thorn in her side for years, forcing her to sue him in 2006 to prevent him form publishing a book about their marriage, arguing that it violated their confidentiality agreement. The following year, a court-appointed arbitrator issued a permanent injunction forbidding him from “criticizing, denigrating, casting in a negative light or otherwise disparaging” his ex-wife.